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Super Bowl Weekend - Feb 4 and 5 at the Rio

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mjames1229, Feb 7, 2017.

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  1. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    2,727
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    29

    My Trip Report

    For the second time in three years, I spent a whirlwind weekend in Las Vegas (considering my location in the Midwest). It was one of the windiest in the annals of whirl! And for the second time in three years, I was at a large party in Las Vegas for one of the best Super Bowl endings in history.

    In 2015, my wife attended Las Vegas with me for a trip that lasted about 25 hours from wheels down to wheels up. She wasn’t crazy about the pace, so this year I took my son with me. We also were able to leave a little earlier on Saturday, so that we had 29 hours in Vegas. Here’s how we spent those 29 hours…

    (All times PST, except where noted)

    Saturday, February 4 @ 10:00 AM CST – Thanks to a Las Vegas movie marathon on TCM earlier in the week, I was able to record Viva Las Vegas, so I chose Saturday morning to add that viewing to my personal Las Vegas Film Fest. I had mentioned it to Aaron, so he came over in time to watch.

    10:45 AM CSTAnn-Margret at the pool. Sigh…

    12:15 PM CST – Out the door, to the airport, through TSA and to the gate an hour before boarding. Every time that process goes so smoothly, I wish I would have stayed at home for a while longer. I hate sitting at the airport.

    2:10 PM CST – Wheels up!

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere over 10,000 ft CST – Aaron had strategized his entertainment for the flight, and paid the $8 for Southwest’s wireless. However, his excitement turned into sad puppy dog eyes, as he learned that Southwest does not allow Netflix streaming on the flight. Now he had hours to kill with almost worthless internet access. The poor kid found something to do (including the taking of a nap), but he did learn a valuable lesson.

    4:20 PM PST – Welcome to San Diego!

    [​IMG]

    5:00 PM – Part of the fun of a short trip to Las Vegas is to find a ridiculously low fare. Getting $98 one-way from MKE to LAS was a score, but we did have to stop in San Diego (no plane change, though). However, depending on how you define a “visit”, it was my first ever trip to San Diego. It looked lovely through the plane windows, I may have to come back some time where I am free to deplane.

    6:20 PM – We arrive in Las Vegas and are struck with how vacant the airport was. It was clear that everybody arrived in Las Vegas before Saturday evening, as I have never seen the airport so empty.

    [​IMG]

    6:40 PM – As I’ve done numerous times, I checked into Alamo from home for our rental car, so we headed right to the garage for our rented convertible. Our choices were a Mustang or the Camaro. I let Aaron choose.

    [​IMG]

    7:00 PM – The first audible of the trip. Originally we were going to head directly up to Carnitas y Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara for dinner. However, we both decided to download the South Point sports betting app, so we wanted to go to South Point and open our deposit accounts. The sports book was crowded but not packed, so we were able to get that done pretty quickly. Which is good, because we had a standing appointment that I did not want to miss.

    8:10 PM – We get to Commonwealth which was a little busy, find a standing spot at the corner of the bar and text to the secret number that we’ve arrived. The response said “Go to the end of the bar and wait”. I asked “Which end?” Once we coordinated, the hostess mentioned to me that nobody had asked that question before, which I found odd, as every bar has two ends.

    8:15 PM – Our hostess leads us into The Laundry Room. One of their rules is “no photos”, however there are photos on-line (like these and these) which allow you to see the room. There are about 20 seats, and everything is sort of subdued. We meet the barted...er, um, mixologist (Anthony), who starts to talk to us about what we like or don’t like. For example, he said that he didn’t want to hear “I like rum” because each rum has its own taste… Bacardi doesn’t taste like anything, Captain Morgan is sweet and (dammit, I forgot which brand) tastes like tar.

    9:00 PM – I can’t say enough good things about The Laundry Room. It was an oasis of calm with the party atmosphere on Fremont St and in the Fremont East district. We each had two cocktails. For the first one, I said that I like tart fruit and ginger beer, and received exactly that… a tart, fizzy, fruity drink featuring Creme de cassis. I changed gears for the second drink and asked for something with cucumber and mint and was given a brilliant martini-type drink. Aaron was a trickier study, as he wasn’t as specific with his tastes. They finally dialed it in and his first drink was tart and his second was citrusy. In both of them, Aaron suggested “smokey” so the mixologist adeptly lit some wood (maybe part of a toothpick?) and placed it inside the lime as a garnish for the first drink and singed some rosemary for use on the second drink. Each drink was $15, so we stopped at two each. This will definitely be a do-it-againer with my bowling group coming out in April.

    9:30 PM – Since we had missed Mexican for dinner, and now with two drinks under my belt, it was time for dinner. The beauty of downtown is that there are a lot of quick-hitters available. We were on our way to American Coney when we got as far as Flippin Good Burgers and decided that a burger would hit the spot.

    [​IMG]

    9:45 PM – The burgers were decent (they certainly won’t rival the gourmet burgers like the ones at Holsteins, the Burger Bar or BurGR) and priced acceptably. I had the 1/4# Flame burger and Aaron had the 1/4# Farm burger. We split an order of Flippin Fries, which are almost identical to In-N-Out’s Animal Style Fries. I don’t know if I’d prioritize Flippin Good Burgers for a repeat visit, but if I have the munchies downtown and want a burger, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.

    [​IMG]

    9:55 PM – We get to the Golden Nugget for their 10:00 PM poker tournament, and I am amazed at the crush of people in the poker room. Their 7:00 PM tournament still had three tables going, so they could only afford two tables to start at 10:00 PM (meaning that Aaron and I became alternates before the tournament even began). Fortunately, they were able to combine tables right around 10:00 PM from the earlier tournament, freeing up one more table for all of the alternates. I’ve played Golden Nugget’s late tournament before and it struggles to fill one table. On Super Bowl Eve, this tournament had 36 entries.

    11:55 PM – Just before break, Aaron busts out of the tournament and gets up to leave. I have just about half of my starting stack ($5K) when he leaves. But in the space of a couple of hands I triple-up and rake another pot and enter the Midnight break with about $9K in chips.

    You've gotta wait until I start my next installment to see how Sunday went. :wave:
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
    Super Bowl / Poker Trip Combo Platter
    Bowling the USBC National tournament, I hope.
    • Like Like x 4
  2. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Sunday, February 5 @ 2:00 AM PST– I’ve made it to the second break and am one of eight players remaining with about the 2nd or 3rd amount of chips. I haven’t made any big scores besides right before the first break, but I’ve taken advantage of position when in the pot with a smaller stack. It was at this point I had wished it was a bounty tournament, as I’d knocked out at least five players.

    2:40 AM – The tournament paid four spots, and with five players left I still have the second chip stack. On the button I am dealt AK suited so I go all-in against the two blinds. With the antes and blinds increasing, I was going to be happy to take the blinds and antes and buy another orbit. However BOTH blinds call me (Oops). The small blind has QQ and the big blind 77. I don’t get any help from the board and too many of my chips go away.

    2:45 AM – About two hands later, I am dealt QQ, so I again go all in, this time called by the chip leader who has AK suited (sound familiar?) However, fate stays against me as the flop contains both an A and a K and a Q doesn’t come and I am knocked out in fifth place, not making a nickel. I was so tired and frustrated about playing 4-1/2 hours and not cashing. Frustrated, too, as my AK loses to QQ, but my QQ loses to AK and all of my chips vanish just like that. That’s poker, though… all the crap I tell my wife about being a skill game went out the window when dumb luck worked against me twice.

    3:15 AM – Aaron and I are walking back to the car in the Binion’s garage, so I send him into the casino to get the parking validated while I use my $10 free play from a mailer. I cash out with a $5 profit… salvaging something on the day.

    3:25 AM – With the convertible top down, I turn the car's heat on as high as possible. I also take Las Vegas Blvd. as the speed limit isn’t quite what it is on the freeway.

    4:00 AM – We finally get to our room at the Rio.

    [​IMG]

    7:20 AM – Aaron’s alarm goes off. Who needs sleep in Las Vegas? 3 hours (after 22 hours awake) is plenty.

    [​IMG]

    7:45 AM – We leave to head to breakfast. I spent more time playing one poker tournament than I did in our room. However, the poker tournament cost $50 and the resort fee at the Rio was $33, so the hotel room was a better value. Gotta look at the bright side, right?

    8:10 AM – It is clear that breakfast is served at only one location, because the car heads automatically to Eat.

    8:45 AM – Another Country Fried Steak (and lots of coffee) is down the hatch and we’re ready to get back on the road.

    [​IMG]

    9:30 AM – Back down to South Point for their 10:00 AM poker tournament. Not having expected the Golden Nugget game to last so long, I didn’t get a chance to make my Super Bowl bets into the app so I started the process while waiting for the tournament to begin. A few years ago, I had downloaded the Cantor Gaming app and had all sorts of problems with it. Unfortunately, the app used through South Point wasn’t a heck of a lot better. For example, The list of available prop bets is about 20 pages long, and each is identified with a four-digit code like this….

    [​IMG]

    When you go to the window of the sports book, you’d say “Give me $10 on 3749”. The agent punches it into the computer and when the bet is booked, it spits out a ticket. Wouldn’t it make sense if there was a way I could punch the code and amount into the app? No such luck, though, as the display screen looked like this…

    [​IMG]

    TOTAL YARDS at TOTAL YARDS 62-1/2? For whom? Or which team? Huh? The only way to find out was to tap every single one of them individually until you found the bet that you'd want to make.

    From home, I had downloaded and printed the list of South Point props and had 55 different bets that I had wanted to make. The amount of time that it would likely take me to hunt and peck through every box was daunting, so I decided not to even start before the poker tournament. It also made me wish that I hadn’t downloaded the app and just read my list to a sports book agent, as there was no real line at this time in the morning.

    11:00 AM – I reach the first break in the tournament with a decent amount of chips. Aaron and I find an empty table in the poker room and continue our studying.

    [​IMG]

    12:20 PM – I tried to make a positional move with K9 of spades, making a big bet in the big blind, however, the little old lady next to me went all-in over the top of me. My bet size was too large, as I was pot-committed at that point and had to call. She had JJ (and flopped another J) and took most of my chips. I didn’t last long after that.

    12:30 PM – I try to console myself by sliding a $100 bill into South Point’s lovely video poker machines.

    12:45 PM (and $100 later) – Aaron finds me and we begin to search for a place to watch the game.

    1:00 PM – South Point had three locations set up to watch the Super Bowl for free. We start with the Grand Ballroom, and even though the room was huge, most of the tables were being reserved… but it was hard to find out because every table had one or two people sitting there, and you didn’t know if there was room unless you went to every table and asked. We finally found one near the back of the room, but they had enough screens that seeing the game wouldn’t be a problem. I tell Aaron to hang tight while I go to the other two venues (the Showroom and the Exhibit Halls) to see if better seating could be had.

    [​IMG]

    1:15 PM – The Showroom would be the place to see the game… plush booths, small tables, larger screens, and no open spots after walking the entire room. I didn’t even bother with the Exhibit Halls, as I had to start hunting and pecking on the app to get all of my bets in.

    3:00 PM – I finally get the last bets made and get up to check the food options. I understand that many viewing parties in Las Vegas charged a fixed amount (usually $100 to $200 per person) with unlimited food and drinks. I wasn’t interested in that, so the a la cartness of South Point’s party appealed to me. Because of my weight loss program (down 86 pounds at the time we left) I didn’t want to overeat so I had exactly two $1 hot dogs, one slice of $3 warming tray pizza, two $5 lite beers (Bud Light, ugh) and one $2 bottle of water. My viewing party cost $17.

    5:30 PM – Most of my prop bets were aimed at a NE win a low scoring game. Though NE was getting killed, my unders were looking pretty good. But I was really getting sick of the faux-Falcons fans in the room… they outnumbered NE fans 4-1 (at least in our party) and they were getting awfully cocky. I needed to get away, so at the 2-minute warning, I got up and headed to the poker room. I didn’t want to play cards, but I knew that there are cell phone charging stations down there and I needed an excuse to get out of the ballroom for a while. The poker room was a different atmosphere. There were many tables with poker games, and the TV sound was off. At each unused poker table sat two or three people who were watching the game, so I joined one of them. This was more football talk and less drunken idiots whooping for every play that won a bet for them, and I kind of enjoyed it. There was some whooping, though, when a player at the table to my left flopped four Aces to win a high hand jackpot.

    5:45 PM – Once Lady Gaga took the stage, I hit the video poker machines again. I lost $60 at halftime, but it was better than watching the halftime show. So in effect, I was a winner. Just as the third quarter began, I went back to the poker room to get my phone and headed back up to the ballroom.

    7:00 PM – You saw the game (or didn’t care) so I don’t have to get into that, but the buzz in that ballroom was electric, and no way that can be created in your living room. I was glad to be there. After NE ties it, I review my bets… if NE kicks a field goal in OT, I win bets like Exactly 6 TDs, Exactly 3 FGs, NE with Exactly 31 points, and Total Score Between 54-59. From cheering like hell for NE to come back, suddenly I in overtime I am hoping for any Atlanta defensive stop. I was fine with the outcome because I still profited from the game, but I would have won a lot more with a figgie instead of a TD. I laid out $460 in bets and cashed for $469.50. The best part, though, is that I will be back at South Point for a bowling tournament in April, so I kept the funds on account for an instant savings fund! Savvy, eh?

    7:30 PM – Because Aaron brought bets along for friends, he had to stand in the long, long line to cash the tickets that he won. That put us behind schedule, as we had planned to go to Naked City Pizza for dinner, but there was no way we’d get across town, eat (not knowing how busy they would be) and get back to the airport in 2-1/2 hours.

    8:30 PM – We headed up to check out the two restaurants that we couldn’t decide on… Primarily Prime Rib or Baja Miguel’s. We both said “I don’t care, you pick” about three times when I asked a different question to him, asking what he’d have at Primarily Prime Rib. His answer of “the hamburger” was all I needed to hear.

    8:45 PM – We are seated at Baja Miguel’s when they bring us the chips with refried beans, guacamole and ketchup.

    [​IMG]

    Luckily, they have actual salsa available, too.

    [​IMG]

    I have the Frontera Special (and it didn’t even occur to me to have the sauce on the side) which was Filet Mignon with shrimp. I thought it was fantastic.

    [​IMG]

    Aaron had the Tacos al Carbone, which he described as good, but a little bland (which he took care of with some Cholula sauce).

    [​IMG]

    9:15 PM - While we were eating dinner, the South Point sports book was robbed by an armed robber. He was caught by South Point security while still on the property. Although the sports book is nowhere bear Baja Miguel's, it was a little odd to just hear about it today (Tuesday as I type this). When we left a short time later, there was no indication that anything was amiss.

    9:30 PM – It’s kinda funny… everyone knows that my Vegas is to always be going somewhere, which is why renting a car is always required for my trips. I also specifically don’t like staying at one property all day, as you don’t get out and see Vegas. Especially if you are at South Point, you can’t even walk outside and be immersed in Vegas; may as well be at your local casino. But with all that said, I kinda liked spending an entire day at South Point. It has poker, I know the gambling odds are good, and it certainly doesn’t lack for dining options. I haven’t even mentioned the 124 bowling lanes, the movie theater or the rodeo stuff. A really nice place… but I was itching to leave.

    9:45 PM – Unfortunately, I was leaving to go home. Gassing up the car, the rental car return, the shuttle ride back, the check-in and getting through TSA was a breeze.

    10:30 PM – My last two times at McCarran (in May while changing planes from Reno and in November while coming home from my poker trip) I had hit a video poker machine for $200. Continuing my video poker luck from all weekend, I was skunked there, too. For the weekend I lost just under $500, and almost $400 of that was on video poker… it just had my number this weekend.

    11:00 PM – We board our Frontier flight. I am very loyal to Southwest, but they don’t have redeyes and part of the plan of an “overnighter” was to not stay a second night. We had each packed a small duffel so baggage fees weren’t a problem and the $129 price couldn’t be beat. But those seats… for criminy sakes those “new” Frontier seats were horrible. It was like trying to sleep in a church pew. Hard, non-reclining, and jammed in there was pretty not good. The worst part, though, is that there is a horizontal bar running across the bottom of the three-across seats, so that you couldn’t even fully stretch your legs. If I could have only stretched my legs, I would have been fine.

    [​IMG]

    I did have a window seat and managed to sleep for an hour or so, but I could never fall back to sleep because I could never get my legs to fit quite right.

    This is actually a big deal, as I don’t know if I would want to fly Frontier again if I can’t get comfortable enough to sleep in the middle of the night. We’d have to either find a more expensive airline for a redeye, or else stay Sunday night (paying another night’s resort fee) or fly an always-expensive-post-Super-Bowl-Monday flight. Today, none is an attractive option.

    But ask me again next fall….
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
    Super Bowl / Poker Trip Combo Platter
    Bowling the USBC National tournament, I hope.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. DownUpUp

    DownUpUp Tourist

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    Loved the TR and pics! Thanks for sharing.
     
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  4. Kevke

    Kevke Vegas Addict

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    sweet TR , Thanks !
     
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  5. Criminole

    Criminole Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    I was thinking about how crazy the Sports Books must have been after witnessing a day of March Madness a couple of years ago! Your poker beats sound like mine on Las Vegas Advisor Casino website. So many times beaten by worse hands but like you said that's poker. Sounds like a great time with your son!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. carolineno

    carolineno VIP Whale

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    Great report, I never knew about the Commonwealth or the Laundry Room. Adding those to my to-do list. Thanks for sharing.
     
    Optimistic, might make Identity Gold?
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  7. D in the D

    D in the D Oldest ride, Longest Line

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    Nice report. Thanks for sharing. The AK vs QQ and QQ vs AK hit me like a gutpunch. I can totally relate.
     
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  8. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Caesars Diamond Member

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    I just got back yesterday from Vegas. The lines at the sportsbooks started in the morning and lasted until game time. This was at Harrahs. It was really crazy, stretching into the casino floor. I had made my bets on Saturday, so I wouldn't have to put up with the crazy lines.
     
  9. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Caesars Diamond Member

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    Thanks for the report. That was a fast trip. I live in NYC, so we really don't fly Frontier here, but how in the world can they make such horrible seats where people can't even stretch their legs and can't recline the seats?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    That's the extent of my visit to Pittsburgh! :D Just a peek out the window...

    Thanks for the great report!
    Sounds like you and Aaron had a great time!

    RICHARD
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. blahblah

    blahblah Tourist

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    Thanks for the great TR. Sorry your tournaments didn't pan out, but I love reading poker in a report so thanks for that! Makes me excited for my trip in a few days!
     
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  12. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Great report!
     
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  13. La$Vega$

    La$Vega$ What happens in Vegas is put on VMB forever

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    Gr8 report, photos, time line, tid bits etc.
    After looking at flights out of ord your mke tix has me looking!
     
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  14. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

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    You should spend some time in San Diego.....beautiful city....great food! Thanks for the report!
     
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  15. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Great report. I gotta get to Eat...
     
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  16. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    I seem to remember an opportunity availed itself last November.... :haha:
     
    Super Bowl / Poker Trip Combo Platter
    Bowling the USBC National tournament, I hope.
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  17. travelling_greg

    travelling_greg Tourist

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    my immediate thought was an AUSSIE Rum called "Bundaberg"....shudder.. :)

    Great trip report!!!! Really enjoyed the read. Thank you for sharing.
     
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  18. Valgal

    Valgal VIP Whale

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    Nice report. We flew Frontier on our last trip and also took the redeye. I don't think I would fly them again using the cheap seats. It was too uncomfortable. But when the flights are so cheap it is hard not to jump on it.
     
    40th Wedding Anniversary if we make it that long
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  19. hard6

    hard6 Low-Roller

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    Bundaberg makes some good craft sodas!
     
  20. JeJas

    JeJas VIP Whale

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    Nice report!
    enjoyed reading.
     
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